Arkansas Politics

Local & Regional News
12:42 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Arkansas Legislative Leaders Say Private Option At Risk

Less than a year after its approval, Arkansas' much-heralded plan to expand Medicaid by buying private insurance for the poor instead of adding them to the rolls is on the brink of being abandoned.

Supporters are worried that they won't have enough votes to keep the program alive after the Legislature convenes Monday.

Arkansas' plan would use federal money to purchase the policies for those who became eligible under the new health care law.

Many Republicans believe private insurers will manage the benefits more efficiently than the Medicaid program.

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Local & Regional News
12:36 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ad War Heats Up in Arkansas Senate Race With New Spots

Image from Pryor ad that begins airing Thursday.

The television ad war in Arkansas' Senate race heated up on Wednesday, with Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and a conservative group spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on new spots airing statewide this week.

Pryor's campaign on Wednesday unveiled two new 30-second ads targeting Republican rival and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton. The spots will begin airing Thursday and are part of a six-figure ad buy that criticize Cotton for supporting a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like system for future beneficiaries.

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Local & Regional News
2:56 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Gov. Mike Beebe Touts Reasons For Continuing Private Option

Gov. Mike Beebe

Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday there are a “multiplicity” of reasons Arkansas Legislators should vote to fund Arkansas’ private option plan, and he also took a shot at Republican gubernatorial candidates who “don’t understand the budget” with respect to the private option.

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Local & Regional News
9:18 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Beebe Takes Aim At Opponents Of Medicaid Expansion

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is comparing ending the state's compromise Medicaid expansion that he backed to the insurance policy cancelations that many saw as the federal health care overhaul rolled out.

Speaking to the Political Animals Club on Wednesday, Beebe said halting the private option seems hypocritical since opponents of the expansion also complained about the widespread reports of policy cancelations from the federal health law last year.

Beebe later walked back the remarks, but said he believed the consequences would be similar.

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Local & Regional News
9:13 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Arkansas Governor Backs Bill Keeping Darr Office Vacant

Governor Mike Beebe
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he'd sign into law legislation that would allow him to avoid calling a special election to replace Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who is set to resign this week over campaign finance and ethics violations.

Beebe told reporters Wednesday that legislative leaders have shown him a draft bill that would give him the discretion on whether to call the special election for Darr. House and Senate leaders say they'd rather keep the office vacant, since the election will be in November. 

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Local & Regional News
1:21 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Arkansas Panel Recommends Fundraising Exception

An Arkansas House panel is recommending that two members running for Congress be allowed to raise campaign funds during next month's legislative session.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday voted to recommend exempting candidates for federal office from a prohibition on raising money during the legislative session. The Legislature convenes its fiscal session Feb. 10.

State Reps. Bruce Westerman and Ann Clemmer are running for two congressional seats. Westerman had asked the panel whether the fundraising prohibition applies to federal candidates.

Local & Regional News
4:25 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Newly Elected Republican State Senator Sworn In

Credit Maggie Carroll/KUAR News

Newly elected state Senator John Cooper was sworn in Tuesday at the Arkansas State Capitol.  

The Republican comes into office after a special election was held earlier this month to replace former senator Paul Bookout, a Democrat, who resigned for ethical violations.

In an interview with KUAR, Sen. Cooper said he does not have a specific agend,a but will be supporting “conservative causes.”

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Local & Regional News
6:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll: It’s Still The Economy

More Arkansans feel the state is heading in the right direction than the wrong direction and a majority identify the economy and jobs as their top issue of concern.

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Ross Raises $540,000 In Final Months of 2013 For Race For Governor

Mike Ross

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross has raised more than $540,000 in the final months of 2013 in his bid for Arkansas' top office.

The former congressman's campaign said Wednesday that he ended 2013 with $2.5 million cash on hand and had raised $3.65 million since announcing his bid in April.

Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Ross is the only Democrat seeking the state's top office.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this year.

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Local & Regional News
2:23 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Special Election Bodes Ill For Arkansas Health Plan

A Republican takeover of a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat dims the prospects for continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion plan and could be a troubling early sign for Democrats who had hoped to rebound from recent losses at the polls.

Republican John Cooper's win in the special election Tuesday for the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout over ethics violations gives Republicans a 22-13 majority in the Senate and takes away a key vote for the "private option" Medicaid expansion lawmakers approved last year.

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